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Monday October 3, 2005 - 14:47:24 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (3 October 2005)

The euro extended recent losses vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.1920 level after encountering resistance around the $1.2030 level in Australasian dealing. The common currency is thought to have partially slid on news that Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party picked up some additional parliamentary seats yesterday over Chancellor Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party. This increases the chances that a “grand coalition” government will be formed in Germany and renders it less likely that reform measures will be carried out in Germany at a fast pace. Germany boasts the largest economy in the eurozone and has registered years of sub-par growth, hence the lack of a clear political mandate threatens nascent reform measures and initiatives. Dealers also bought dollars following Friday’s strong PCE data that evidenced an increase in inflationary pressures in the U.S. Data released in the U.S. today saw the headline September ISM survey print at a stronger-than-expected 59.4 from August’s reading of 53.6. The prices paid sub-index moved higher to 78 from the previous reading of 62.5 while the new orders sub-index rallied to 63.8 from 56.4. Also, August construction spending data were released today and they climbed +0.4% to $1.109 trillion. Front-month NYMEX crude futures continue to trade with a $66 handle and dealers are closely watching a French workers’ strike that threatens to push the price of oil higher as demand for oil increases with seasonal winter demand in the U.S. northeast. Approximately 18% of U.S. oil-refining capacity remains offline following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The all-important U.S. non-farm payrolls report will be released on Friday and many dealers are confused on how to forecast it and interpret the results given the recent hurricanes. In eurozone news, the German September manufacturing PMI survey improved to 51.0 from 48.7 in August while the EMU-12 September manufacturing PMI survey rallied to 51.7 from 50.4. These data, however, did little to bolster the euro today. Euro offers are cited around the $1.2005 level.

¥/ CNY

The yen depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the ¥114.25 level, its highest print since May 2004 when the pair got as high as the ¥114.90 level. The move higher was prompted by an improved September Bank of Japan quarterly tankan survey that did not meet most traders’ expectations. The headline manufacturing sentiment index print at +19, better than June’s +18 level but below forecasts of +20. The outlook for the coming three months was cautious with an index at +18. Also, the quarterly “all-industries” capital expenditures improved to 6.8% in the year to March 2006, higher than June’s 5.4% increase. This is important because it signals a likely increase and improvement in business investment. Bank of Japan Governor Fukui continued the verbal jarring with the government about the central bank’s long-standing quantitative easing policy. Fukui said “I don't agree with the opinion that (the BoJ) should continue the abnormal policy (of quantitative credit easing) forever” but added “(even if the core CPI rose by more than zero pct on the year), we will not immediately tighten up.” His comments represent the latest exchange between the BoJ – which clearly wants to begin to normalize monetary policy sooner rather than later – and the MoF, which clearly wants an ultra-accommodative policy for as long as possible. BoJ Policy Board member Nakahara today suggested the central bank should not move to unwind its policy now, saying “Making a proactive shift in the monetary policy now, or reducing the current account target, is not appropriate, because such a move means a tightening. While the Japanese economy effectively moved out of the prolonged soft-patch, recovery has been slow, because the corporate behavior is cautious due to ongoing structural reforms. In addition, we can not rule out the possibility that the Japanese economy may be (adversely) affected by (a slowdown in) overseas economies. All in all, it is far from clear as to when Japan can exit from the prolonged deflation.” Nakahara also called on the central bank to maintain its current account surplus target. The Nikkei 225 stock index shed 0.36% to close at ¥13,525.28. August household spending data will be released on Friday. Dollar bids are cited around the ¥113.45 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥135.90 level and was capped around the ¥136.75 level. The British pound and Swiss franc moved marginally lower vis-à-vis the yen as the crosses tested bids around the ¥199.75 and ¥87.40 levels, respectively.

The British pound continued its recent descent vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested bids around the US$ 1.7520 level after failing to get through offers around the $1.7635 level. Stops were triggered below the $1.7565 level. Sterling failed to gain much ground on the latest U.K. manufacturing PMI survey that registered an improvement to 51.5 from 50.1. These data, however, were countered by Hometrack housing market data that evidenced a decline in U.K. house pries for the fifteenth consecutive month in September, off 0.1% m/m. Traders may begin to price in a Bank of England monetary easing now that U.K. economic growth is clearly decelerating. BoE’s MPC will issue its monetary policy statement on Thursday and industrial production data will be released on Thursday. Cable offers are cited around the $1.7620 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.6785 level.


The Swiss franc lost ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 1.3040 level, its highest level since 27 July. Chartists are eyeing the CHF 1.3080 level as the pair’s next upside target. Data released in Switzerland today saw the September PMI report print at 57.5, up from August’s revised reading of 52.5. This represents the seventh consecutive month it has been above the “boom-or-bust” 50.0 level. Dollar bids are cited around the CHF 1.2995 level. The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.5520 level while the British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 2.2905 level.


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